I would like to refresh my knowledge about optics. I studied optics back in the university but I almost forgot everything. What would be a good book to do that?

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    – jrista
    May 15, 2012 at 0:32
  • @jrista I'm actually still looking for a better answer. I know that it's better to accept a question as soon as we find a good one, this is my approach in general because this is the idea of this website in the first place. The problem with books questions is that it's subjective from person to person
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    May 15, 2012 at 0:41
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5 Answers 5


There are couple of them, but you can start with these:

  • Optics in Photography (SPIE Press Monograph Vol. PM06): Explains fundamental optical principles that apply to photography, cameras, and lenses. Intended for professionals and serious amateur photographers as well as lens designers and optical engineers.


    • Perspective
    • Light Rays and Lens Aberrations
    • Light Waves and How They Behave
    • Definition and Resolution
    • Depth of Field
    • The Brightness of Images
    • Types of Photographic Objectives
    • Lens Attachments
    • Enlarging and Projection Systems
    • Stereoscopic Photography
    • Shutters and Flash
    • Camera Viewfinders and Rangefinders

      enter image description here

  • The Optics of Photography and Photographic Lenses

    You can find a description on Google Books

One of my friend has these books and I have find them very useful many times.

I hope this helps.


Depending on what level of the treatment you are looking for, and if you want to go really at the foundations, you could try the classic by Born and Wolf, Principles of Optics. Great book.

A short excerpt from the Table of contents:

  • Foundations of geometrical optics
  • Geometrical theory of optical imaging
  • Geometrical theory of aberrations
  • Image forming instruments

and much, much more.


For a university level optics book, Hecht is excellent. It's what I used in university years ago (that was an earlier edition though).



After searching this for a while, here is the list that I think it may be interesting:


OPTICKS can get you all the way to the source... As well as teach you some concepts (in a rather archaic but interesting way) it will expose a hint to the mind of a great(est) scientist.

  • Your answer was not helpful. The question wasn't about outdated 17th century works that deal exclusively with a corpuscular theory of light.
    – coneslayer
    May 1, 2012 at 1:33
  • 1
    @ysap: Opinions happen, downvotes happen. Accept it and move along.
    – jrista
    May 1, 2012 at 1:58
  • 1
    @ysap: There is always an ideal, but ideals need to be balanced with the reality of things. I'd love PhotoSE to be an open, objective community that always discussed the merits of everything, but the core of our subject matter often begs for the opposite. We cannot force voters to explain their votes, nor should we. I think coneslayer has been more than open in offering his opinion, and you should welcome that when it occurs.
    – jrista
    May 1, 2012 at 5:06
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    @coneslayer without entering the debate on the merit of Opticks, very old books are usually much more than "historical curiosities". In the case of Galilei, Newton, Maxwell, Einstein (and others, obviously the list is very short), they are often, in my opinion, masterpieces to be studied deeply and known by heart.
    – Francesco
    May 1, 2012 at 9:18
  • 3
    I've removed combative comments and cleaned up the ones that remain. Try to just roll with the punches in the future, and if you really need to ask for a reason for a downvote, ask politely.
    – jrista
    May 1, 2012 at 13:55

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